How to Prune Your Trees Properly This Spring
Trees typically have two seasons: growing and dormant. Pruning trees during the dormant season is generally preferred to protect them from disease, infestation, or stress. Every rule, however, has an exception. Pruning your trees in the spring may be permissible in some cases. It may even be beneficial to some trees. However, spring pruning must be done correctly, or you may cause more harm than good. When in doubt, seek advice from a professional tree service.
What Types of Trees Benefit From Pruning in Spring?
If you have spring-blooming trees or shrubs, such as lilac, chokecherry, crabapple, and apricot trees, pruning them in the winter when they are dormant prevents them from fully blooming during their designated season. As a result, you should prune them after their blooming season is over or later if you intend to harvest their fruit. Other trees ooze sap when pruned in the winter or early spring. Birches, maples, and walnut trees are examples. If you want to avoid dealing with the mess that oozing sap can make, prune these trees later in the spring after all their seasonal leaves have appeared. Sap bleeding is not harmful to the tree in either case, so it is a matter of personal preference whether you prune in the winter and deal with the mess or wait until the leaves appear.
How Much Can You Remove From Your Tree When Pruning in Spring?
To avoid limiting the bloom potential of your tree, avoid pruning more than 10% of the branches. Removing more than this may cause undue stress to your tree. When your tree is in a period of rapid growth, the wounds left by pruning can close faster, which is an argument in favor of spring pruning for trees that are less susceptible to disease. However, stress from removing too many branches can cause a tree’s growth to slow.
What Can You Do To Protect Your Tree From Infection When Pruning?
To avoid exposing fresh tree wounds to pathogens, sanitize your pruning tools after you finish working on one tree before beginning work on another. Unsanitized pruning tools can contaminate healthy trees and spread diseases throughout your yard.
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